Feb 9, 2018

Posted by in School of Massage Therapy | 0 Comments

Modality: Myofascial Release

As part of my education at CNWSMT, we were able to get little samples of different massage modalities that we might want to eventually go on to specialize in. There is so much you can do with massage, and so many different routes you can take, that having these snippets in the program has really been a benefit to figuring out where you want to go with your own practice. The modalities we were able to sample were:

  • Sports Massage
  • Chair Massage
  • Polarity
  • Myofascial Release (MFR)
  • Craniosacral Therapy (CST)
  • Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)
  • Forearm Massage
  • Gentle Massage

Myofascial Release, or MFR for short, works on the premise that sometimes pain isn’t due to a muscle restriction, but a fascial one. Fascia is the substance of our bodies that exists around and between all cells. It’s a vast, continuous network that adapts to our habits and postures, and in doing so can begin to squeeze things that we don’t realize, or cause restrictions that we notice as odd pains and sensations.

In MFR the techniques are even slower than Polarity, if one can believe it. You must sense the fascia with your hands and fingers (something that is developed to be more and more acute with practice), and then with gentle guidance and the holding of the fascia for long periods of time (five minutes at a go minimum), you release restrictions and allow the body to return to its natural state. This is a modality that to receive, once you understand what’s going on, is very relaxing. As a practitioner, if you don’t have a passion for it you may end up very bored, and possibly fatigued.

A little bit of this technique is thought by some to be energetic, but since there is science behind a lot of it, it really isn’t an energy technique persay. It’s very easy to combine energy with though, because of the lack of most movement and the held positions. So if ever there was a time to do some Reiki with a massage, when you weren’t using a specific massage modality that incorporates energy, this is it.

Probably the most fascinating technique we learned with this was scar release. Scars really disrupt the fascial network, and can go beyond the initial would and cause problems elsewhere in the body. MFR has a specific protocol for reducing the effect of scars, and in many cases, also the appearance of them. It cannot make them completely disappear, but it does cause them to not be as noticeable. I found this technique in particular fascinating, because as a society we’re definitely seeing a rise in surgery (both elective and necessary). Imagine if some of the pain felt even years after could be reduced by some scar release? It’s certainly worth a try, it’s not like it will cause injury.

This would also prove to be the first modality that seemed to help my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). One class I was having an attack, and was in the lull between the problem. I let the instructor know, because in addition to a pelvic floor release we were doing a psoas release. The psoas release wasn’t a good idea, but the pelvic floor release was practically developed for reasons such as this. And I’ll be damned, it helped. Usually touch in the area of my belly when I’m having an attack is not welcomed at all. But my partner this day, Elijah, was very gentle and considerate; and it was extremely relaxing. Enough so that it postponed the next attack wave long enough for me to finish class and get home. That was about a 2hr delay, and at that point I had never had such a thing. It was a moment that I will forever cherish.

MFR tends to be extremely gentle, so as with Polarity it is good for people who want the gentlest of massages. Some explanation is required up front though, since as the therapist you’ll be standing still a lot and your client might assume you aren’t doing anything. You are, it’s just very minute.

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